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How to Make an Electric Cigar Box Guitar for $25

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video How to Make an Electric Cigar Box Guitar for $25

Total build (not including glue dry time) took about 3 hours for this guitar. I did my best to use the most inexpensive parts possible. The only tools I use to carve the neck are a knife, hand saw, and a sharp hatchet. Green wood is the easiest to carve, but you risk it splitting as it dries. I used a green piece of maple cut off the tree only hours before and had no problems.

The cigar box should be as strong as possible, made of solid wood, not cardboard or particle board. Java by Drew Estate uses an excellent box for this, and makes for a very nice looking instrument. The one I came across I have already used to make a stomp box, but if I find another it will become a guitar.

Parts list:
Tuning Heads - $18
Cigar Box - $2
1/4" Jack - $2
Bolts (bridge/nut) - $1
Neck - Free
Microphone (speaker harvested from any outdated electronics) - Free
Finishing Nails - Pennies...Free enough

Certainly there are ways to make a nicer instrument. The point of this video is to show how quickly and cheaply a guitar can be made, not how to make a masterpiece. Depending on the feedback I get from this video I may make another showing how to build a nicer fretted guitar.
theozkeeper2 months ago

Well I am a guitar player and I can honestly say you have turned my imagination onto these instruments... great instructions and great playing... cheers

alexdrew58584 months ago
awesome I actually saw your video on youtube first but when I saw your account name here I had to check it out again. I was wondering do you think it would be daminging to the box to screw the neck into the end so it will be longer?
NightHawkInLight (author)  alexdrew58584 months ago
The neck has to run all the way through or the guitar will not be able to support the string tension.
point taken I just personally as a guitarist prefer a longer neck.
jsawyer8 months ago
Saw one of these at a local Maker's Faire... I can't play, but I might just have to learn! Awesome!
ahazbun1 year ago
Krayzi991 year ago
This. Is. EPIC. Hey, do you think this design would work in a old hollowed-out dvd drive from a pc? I have one, and i wanna make an electric guitar with a geeky design. Ive already hollowed it out, so I hope it works.
NightHawkInLight (author)  Krayzi991 year ago
Yeah it should work just fine, and sound pretty cool too.
Cool. Ill be working on that and ill post an ible ASAP.
Iceman942 years ago
Awesome instructable! I'm not usually much of a guitar person, but you've changed my mind. What are the dimensions of the box you used and the neck? (approximately)
NightHawkInLight (author)  Iceman942 years ago
The box is 5 1/2x8" and the neck is 22" long from the back of the guitar all the way to the end of the head. That's pretty short and you might do better to go longer. The box may need some extra support to hold the pressure of the strings with a longer neck is all.
What other sorts of wood would you be abl to use instead of maple?? (considering Australian trees?)
I'm not sure what trees you have in Australia and what their wood is like. You might be best off to buy a piece of oak (or whatever hardwood you have there) lumber from a hardware store.
Thanx for reply.
Um yeah, aussie woods are like eucalyptus, gum tree and that sort. I'll take your advice and get some 'o' that hard wood. Thanks again for reply.
rbclima2 years ago
freakiiiing AWESOME
you got the words rbclima ;)
Hudson Hill2 years ago
Nice Work, I would love to see some more DIY instruments.
HOLY SHIZ YES......THIS IS THE BEST INSTRUCTABLE I HAVE SEEN FOR GUITARS SO FAR
C_Maconroe2 years ago
If I get 4 bass strings and a long enough neck would that be a cigar bass?
NightHawkInLight (author)  C_Maconroe2 years ago
Yes, but you would need to make the neck very strong.
OK HERE'S THE THING... I AM LOOKING FOR A UNIQUE GIFT FOR MY HUSBANDS BIRTHDAY NEXT MONTH...IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU MIGHT MAKE ONE TO SELL? MY HUSBAND IS A RETIRED TRUCK DRIVER WITH NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT PLAY WITH HIS GUITARS...AND I ENCOURAGE HIM AS MUCH AS I CAN. I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SO UNIQUE THAT HE WOULDN'T SOON TIRE OF IT AND IT GET ITS PLACE IN THE CLOSET...BUT IF I COULD GET ONE OF THESE FOR HIM FOR HIS BIRTHDAY HE WOULD BE SO DELIGHTED THAT I GOT HIM SOMETHING JUST FOR HIM....DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? YOU MAY EMAIL ME AT marybutler2004@yahoo.com with specifics regarding price and payment arrangements.
THANKS FOR SUCH A VIVIDLY NEW IDEA IN MAKING MUSIC!
I recommend not putting your email in the comments in future.
G-Day, a contact for UNIQUE amazingly Inexpensive One Off Handmade Cigar Box Guitars & other instruments I can help as I'm in the process of obtaining one Right Now: see Chuck at http://www.huntzmeyer.com/
He's a real gentleman so I recommend him comfortably & confidently.
thanks for the link
Its a cool instructable don't get me wrong but people have been making cigar box guitars probably about as long as there have been cigar boxes. :-)
Sorry, I currently don't have the time to make them for sale. As sj0305 has said, there are several places to purchase similar guitars online.
MB04 - Ebay has lots for auction - jus search for cigar box guitars and there is also a site called cigar box guitar nation.
lilrocker902 years ago
what size strings did you use?
NightHawkInLight (author)  lilrocker902 years ago
Light acoustic strings, E-G. Many people use the A-B strings for a 4 string guitar and just tune them as the top four so that the neck is under less strain.
bradj4u702 years ago
the only way i can do this is if i've got nothing to do
rondadon2 years ago
i am about to make one of these. But i have a few questions first.

1. bass strings, or did you use the first 4 strings from a 6 string guitar?
2. Since i do not have access to green wood or your carving abilities how tall should the bridge by the tuning heads be pre nut?

thanks!
Thanks for the info and for a cool instructable!
NightHawkInLight (author)  rondadon2 years ago
They are light acoustic strings, E-G. The height of the nut and bridge are not very important for this guitar if you intend to play it with a slide as I do. Anywhere between 1/4"-1/2" should be fine to keep the strings above the neck.
mikeyw82 years ago
id rather buy a proper guitar THAN wasting $25 REALLY A REAL ONES MORE WORTH THE PRICE BUT COOL ANYWAY
Akask2 years ago
I don't get it. If the neck is glued below the body of the guitar, wouldn't it be hard to press down on the strings when you're not using a slide?
NightHawkInLight (author)  Akask2 years ago
This guitar is meant to be tuned to an open tuning and only played with a slide. A slightly different design would be required to make a fretted instrument.
NightHawkInLight (author) 2 years ago
If you like this, be sure to check out the other Instructables on my page!
friger2 years ago
I always love seeing some one else's slant on making a CBG. I really like how you integrated the nut right into the neck. Also the use of the tree branch as a neck stock was brilliant. Invest in some piezo elements for your pick up and you won't have to take apart any more mics. Radio Shack sells them dirt cheap (you should be able to stay under the $25 mark).

I think you should move onto the next level, build a fretted instrument next.
NightHawkInLight (author)  friger2 years ago
I agree. I would love to build a fretted instrument. As soon as I have the time. I've been going over ideas in my head about that for a while now. I would certainly use nicer pickups if I were to put the time into building a fretted neck.
W4FWG2 years ago
Go for the nicer one. Great idea on this cigar box box - love it!
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